China’s imports shrink in April

China's imports contracted sharply in April, while exports grew at a slower pace, reinforcing signs of weak domestic demand despite the lifting of Covid curbs.

Inbound shipments to the world's second largest economy fell by 7.9 percent year-on-year, while exports grew by 8.5 percent in the same period after an unexpected surge of 14.8 percent in March, customs data showed on Tuesday.

Economists in a Reuters poll had predicted no growth in imports and an eight-percent increase in exports.

Government officials have repeatedly warned of a "severe" and "complicated" external environment in the wake of mounting recession risks for many of China's key trading partners.

South Korean exports to China, a leading indicator of China's imports, were down 26.5 percent in April, continuing 10 consecutive months of decline.

The recent official manufacturing purchasing managers' index for April showed new export orders contracting sharply, underlining the challenge facing Chinese policymakers and businesses hoping for a robust post-Covid economic recovery.

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China's economy grew faster than expected in the first quarter thanks to robust services consumption, but factory output has lagged amid weak global growth. Property market weakness, slowing prices and surging bank savings are also raising doubts about demand.

The government has set a modest GDP growth target of around five percent for this year. (Reuters)

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